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Ulster Bank closures to negatively impact rural Ireland –Tóibín

7 April, 2017

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Rural Affairs, Peadar Tóibín TD, has said that plans to close 22 Ulster Bank branches later this year must be reversed, as it is yet a further attack on the vitality of rural Ireland.

Deputy Tóibín said:

“These closures and reduced services will have negative consequences for customers and communities throughout Ireland, particularly in those areas which are most isolated. Many communities will no longer have access to a branch service – this will have a serious impact on local businesses.

“Ulster Bank has already closed 38 branches – coupled with current projected closures will mean that it has closed significantly more of its branch network – 41% than its competitors. This is in spite of profits of €280 million last year.

“With branch closures comes a serious of negative consequences for communities and local enterprise. It has been found that lending to small to medium businesses (SMEs) is reduced by 64% in Britain where a branch closes, and that this is 104% if there is no bank remaining in the town.

“Clearly, banks are crucial to the employment and economic vitality of a town. However Ulster Bank seeks to close a number of banks which are the last remaining in towns. This directly defies the banks own commitments in 2010 never to close if this were the case.

“With the added threat that Brexit offers to our economic well-being, it is crucial banks do not close, particularly in our border towns. Ulster Bank needs to sit down with the communities involved and discuss the fate of the local branches – every effort must be made to keep them open for the good of the locality.

“Our rural towns and villages, having already been stripped of services will be vulnerable to further decline and depopulation. We need to retain these vital services and protect our local communities and enterprises.”

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